In the United States, brokers are regulated by the state (or states) in which they work. Most brokers are required to have an insurance broker license, which involves taking courses and passing an examination. Each state has different requirements for insurance brokers, which a broker must meet to be licensed in that state. Most states require insurance brokers to take continuing education courses in order to maintain their license.

Brokers are not appointed by insurers. They solicit insurance quotes and/or policies from insurers by submitting completed applications on behalf of buyers. Brokers don't have the authority to bind coverage. To initiate a policy, a broker must obtain a binder from the insurer. A binder is a legal document that serves as a temporary insurance policy. It usually applies for a short period, such as 30 or 60 days. A binder is not valid unless it has been signed by a representative of the insurer. A binder is replaced by a policy.


A life insurance agent is essentially a salesperson. If you don’t buy a policy, he or she doesn’t get paid. Because of the commission structure, the more expensive a policy you buy, the more the agent gets paid. You could be roped into a life insurance policy that offers way more coverage than you need, with premiums much higher than you’d pay for more accurate coverage.
A life insurance agent is essentially a salesperson. If you don’t buy a policy, he or she doesn’t get paid. Because of the commission structure, the more expensive a policy you buy, the more the agent gets paid. You could be roped into a life insurance policy that offers way more coverage than you need, with premiums much higher than you’d pay for more accurate coverage.

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Some insurance agents, such as independent agents, will compare policies from multiple vendors. However, this does not mean that the agent has access to all of the vendor’s policies. As insurance agents represent insurers, they may or may not have the experience and expertise required to advise you regarding the best policy for your particular situation. While independent insurance agents may be able to offer you more choices as they work with companies that are competing for your business, they generally only sell the insurance options that will provide them with the biggest profits. Keep this in mind when choosing between an insurance broker and insurance agent.

Beyond simply understanding life insurance, an agent can also guide you through the process of buying it. While you can apply for life insurance entirely on your own, sometimes that means a lot of waiting for a response from a carrier before you know where you stand in the application process. But an agent can update you as move through the funnel.

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You can probably buy life insurance without speaking to another human being, but you should probably ask a professional for help. Even just researching the correct information can be a challenge, as different resources can have differing content and lead you astray. This can become especially frustrating as the laws change at both federal and state levels, and it’s an agent’s job to help you navigate all the nuances of buying insurance.
Contingent commissions are controversial. For one thing, brokers represent insurance buyers. Some people contend that brokers shouldn't accept contingent commissions. Moreover, some brokers have collected contingent commissions without the knowledge of their clients. Another problem is that contingent commissions may give brokers (and agents) an incentive to steer insurance buyers into policies that are particularly lucrative for the broker. If agents and brokers accept contingent commissions, they should disclose this fact to policyholders.

Securities and investment advisory services offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC). Member FINRA/SIPC. AIC and The Business Benefits Group / IFG are not affiliated. Additional products and services may be available through The Business Benefits Group / IFG that are not offered through AIC. Securities products are limited to residents of Virginia. This is not an offer of securities in any jurisdiction, nor is it specifically directed to a resident of any jurisdiction. As with any security, request a prospectus from your Registered Representative. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. A Representative from The Business Benefits Group / IFG will contact you to provide requested information. Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.
After our analysis of 2,700 cities and 128 companies, we found that Erie was the most affordable major insurer in the country with an average yearly rate of $1,052 based on our sample driver - about 31% cheaper than the national average across every insurer. The very largest of the five is GEICO, the second largest auto insurer in the U.S. by market share.

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